Guest post: The future of Jorge Posada

I’m being harsh on Posada.  He hasn’t really declined yet.  Dude put a 133 OPS+ last season.  He was a large contributor to a World Series victory.  Replace Posada with his backup, Jose Molina, do the Yankees win? Probably.  One player won’t make a huge difference on a 103-win ballclub.  But, obviously the loss would hurt.  Hitters like Posada don’t grow on trees.

The point of this piece was to look into Posada’s future, and how better to do that then with Baseball Prospectus’ marvelous PECOTA system. PECOTA is, shall we say, bearish on Posada.  They peg him for a .263/.355/.445 line (hardly end-of-the-world, but a decline without question) and suggest he’ll be hurt again–only 348 PAs.

That isn’t surprising.  Posada’s got a lot going against him: age/wear and tear, position, his injury issues of late.

How much more can the Yankees reasonably expect out of Posada?  Another season like 2009 is unlikely.  The Yankees do realize he’s nearing the end, don’t they?

I think so.  I’m leaving the realm of statistical analysis for this next part, but bear with me.

Remember all the talk about budgets with the Yankees this off season?  Brian Cashman wasn’t totally blowing smoke this time.  The Yankees don’t need a budget, in that they cannot be outbid when they actually want a player. 

The Yankees weren’t outbid for Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui.  They simply wanted neither.  Sure, they’d have brought Damon back for a season, but not for much money.

Nick Johnson was a perfect fill-in at DH.  It’s a 1-year deal, and it’s cheap. Why was that perfect?  Well, he’ll hit a little and hopefully won’t get hurt just swinging the bat.  But there’s another reason.

I think the Yankees are banking on Joe Mauer hitting the market.  (Take that in.  Shouldn’t be surprising.)

The Yankees will have an obvious void that they cannot fill from within–Jesus Montero will rake, but he’s not better than Joe Mauer and isn’t likely to be anytime soon.  Montero’s future as a Yankee still seems to be trade bait, but I don’t know for who or when. 

Just like in 2008, the free agent market could (key word) present an excellent fit.

Sign Mauer to a big deal (Mark Teixeira-ish, probably).  Let him be your catcher, give Johnson the boot and let Posada finish out his deal at DH. If he complains–Posada’s a little proud, rightfully so–let him know that Mauer’s the best in the game, and with him catching and you DHing we can win a title.  That ought to calm Posada down; if not, show him the WARs and HRs and MVPs and perhaps that’ll do it.

But, oh, what do I know.  I’m just talking, honest.

But remember the last time the Yankees had a void?  They had 3, actually.  That worked out well, no?

There could be a snag.  What if Posada rakes again? 

Can the Yankees, an aging club, really pass up the chance to ink a young superstar (if Mauer is available)?  I don’t think so. 

What I’m about to write will probably offend some Yankee fans, but so be it.

If Cashman has to piss Posada off in order to make the team better–a lot better, potentially–then do it.

Maybe Posada would understand.  Mauer is obviously the best catcher in the game, which means he’s obviously better than Posada.  Posada could extend his career as a DH–his shoulder and hamstring injuries can both be attributed to a career of catching. 

It makes sense both ways.  The Yankees gain an MVP-caliber player and Posada gets to extend his career. 

Signing Mauer is as big a no-brainer as there could be.  Even if it meant cutting Jorge Posada, True Yankee, it’d be worth it. 

Yankee fans would forget right after Mauer goes 3-3, HR, 2 BBs and scores 4 runs against the Red Sox the first time, don’t you think?

In the end, the Yankees can’t be about loyalty.  They showed Posada a ton of loyalty in giving him that big deal at the end of his career.  The Yankees are about winning, and Posada’s helped.  He’s got a hand full of rings, might go into the Hall and will almost certainly have his number retired.

Needless to say, he won’t be forgotten should they move him off catcher in favor of Joe Mauer.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Thanks, Adam.

Now, a few things about the posting above. First of all, I don’t agree with everything Adam wrote, but I wanted to run it because it’s good to get different points of view.  My POV isn’t always right.  Some other things/comments:

  1. I hope Mauer stays in Minnesota. It’s important to have home grown guys like Mauer to remain with a club like the Twins. The fan base is so strong and the attachment to Mauer is just so great.  As much as any fan of any team would LOVE to have Mauer, he belongs on the Twins his entire career.
  2. I’d be reluctant signing ANY catcher to a deal the size of Teixeira’s.  The length is scary. Catchers do get hurt.  They do wear down.  And remember, too, that Mauer has already had lower back surgery. Of course, he came back from it and had the year he did last year.
  3. I’m tilting optimistic on Jesus Montero. He’s only 20.  His power projects (80 on an 80 scale). He has a solid arm. With another year of training in AAA, perhaps the rest of his defensive game can catch up (no pun intended) to his offensive prowess. Wouldn’t it be great to transition from a home-grown Posada to a home-grown Montero and have those two catchers take you from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2020’s?  Think about that for a moment.  If Montero becomes the full-time catcher in 2012 and plays a dozen years, you’re into the mid-2020’s. Eerie.
  4. I don’t think Posada is done yet. Yes, he’s 37, but he didn’t become the full time catcher until his mid/late-20’s.  He was sharing time with Girardi for the first several years. If you peek at his B-R page (just come back, ok?), he didn’t play full-time until he was 28 (2000 season), when he was in 151 games.  The two years prior was a majority, but not a full-time, situation with him appearing in 111 and 112 games, respectively. So, while his chronological clock is in the Eastern time zone, his playing clock is still in the Western time zone.

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

8 thoughts on “Guest post: The future of Jorge Posada

  1. Anthony F

    Can we at least recognize one thing? It is factually wrong when everyone includes Posada as a member of the "Core Four" and a stretch to say he witnessed 5 championships. In '96, Posada played in a grand total of 8 games, none of them in the postseason. The two catchers on the '96 squad were Girardi and Leyritz. So to lump Posada in with Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera is an insult to how much THEY contributed to that '96 team. Hell, I don't know if Posada even  got a ring in '96. (I'm assuming he did because he played those 8 games, and they pretty much give one to anyone who walked on the field. But the fact that I even have to ask that just proves my point.)

    It's a shame no one in the media has bothered to correct this erroneous statement. But, hey, "Core Three" doesn't rhyme and catchiness always trumps facts.

  2. Jason@IIATMS

    That's 100% correct, Anthony.  Maybe it's just revisionist theory, maybe, like you said, it just works better calling them "Core Four" instead of "Core Three".

    "Thee Three"?

    "Big Three?"

  3. Ben H

    Jason, I agree. Mauer needs to (and of course, will) stay in Minnesota. The transition from Posada to Montero should be given a chance. No need to press the panic button and overspend and/or trade for a catcher.

  4. JGS

    We aren't talking about the Marlins here–Cot's has Minnesota at $93.2M for this season. Even if they were the Marlins, I think they would raise the money for a Mauer extension if they had to run car washes at every corner in Minneapolis. Carl Pohlad's death will probably make raising the money even easier if his son is less stingy. They'll get it done. They have to

  5. Marc2511

    So he wasn't around to learn the mystique and pedigree that those '96 yankees brought to the table?  You got to be kidding me.  The guy is definitely a member of the 'core four' or whatever media buzz word you want to use.  And there are a number of other intangibles (like his relationship with Jeter) that make him a member of that group as well.  Why don't you split hairs about Petitte logging in some time in Houston if you want to nitpick some more.

     

    I'd be surprised if Mauer leaves, and I think the Twins will sign him before he gets to free agent status.  I like Cervelli and Molina as the back-ups this year.  I hope we get to see one of our prospects aside from Hughes (Montero) not get traded away for whatever stop-gap we need for the season.  Lets show some faith in our farm system-it did bring us some pretty good rewards in the past.

  6. Anthony F

    It's not "splitting hairs." It's a statement of fact. And ignore the cute name for a second and let's look at who was actually around for all four championships: Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, O'Neill, Cone, Nelson, Martinez and Williams. All eight players were starters and key contributors for all four teams. To include Posada because of his eight whopping games in '96 is a joke. And Pettitte's years in Houston have nothing to do with his contributions to that Yankee dynasty. Now, if you want to say that Posada, like the others, is the "heart and soul" of the Yankees. Fine. I have no beef with that, because that is a judgment call and more of an abstract concept. But he was NOT a key contributor to all five world championships as the name "Core Four" or the phrase "wintessed 5 champtionships" implies. That's all I'm saying.

  7. Marc2511

    yeah, to me it sounds like your splitting hairs with a heavy axe for sure.  If  'core four' is a term that is applied to the Yankees of today that carry the championship pedigree, then Posada is definitely a part of that.

  8. Posada can become a free agent beside`s I bet it`s Easier then the MLB and who care`s if he sign`s with another team!

     If I were Girardi I would try to get him to stay.

     I hope Posada leave`s so it`s Easier for Toronto when they play the Bronx Bomers and they get a worse catcher the Posada was when he played if he leave`s the New York Yankees beside`s we lost Barajas to the Mets!

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